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OLX ropes in actor Dhanush to ‘unclutter’ the Southern market

The campaign, conceptualised by Lowe Lintas, comprising two TVCs, highlights the benefits of living an uncluttered life and the ease of selling things on OLX’s mobile app. How well has the advertising strategy of OLX worked?  

Sarmistha Neogy | Mumbai | September 3, 2014

OLX-new Click on the image to watch the TVC.

Online classifieds portal has released two new television commercials featuring popular South Indian actor Dhanush as the protagonist. The campaign has been conceptualised by Lowe Lintas & Partners to highlight the benefits of living an uncluttered life and the ease of selling things on OLX’s mobile app. The TVCs are in Tamil and have been specially made to cater to the Chennai and Tamil Nadu market.

Shriram Iyer Shriram Iyer

Commenting on the two new ads, Shriram Iyer, Executive Creative Director, Lowe Lintas, said, “We integrated the message of ‘unclutter’ in the narrative without making it look forced. Having Dhanush was a huge plus point, since he has an effortless ‘charming lover boy’ imagery. We blended the narrative with his imagery to deliver the message of OLX.”

The first film opens with Dhanush breaking into his girlfriend’s house to meet her and accidentally stumbles upon the clutter lying around in the house. On being caught by the girl’s parents, Dhanush diverts their attention to how they could easily get rid of all the clutter in the house by simply downloading the OLX mobile app and selling off things they are not using. This leaves the girl’s father, played by veteran actor Nizhalgal Ravi, very impressed with Dhanush.

In the second TVC, Dhanush is caught by the girl’s brother while he is romancing her outside their house. In order to run away from her brother, played by Tamil actor John Vijay, Dhanush gets on the brother’s gearless bike, but gets caught before he can flee. A tactful Dhanush urges the brother to sell the gearless bike on OLX, in order to upgrade to something new. The brother takes his advice by using his mobile to post a free ad. He immediately starts getting calls from buyers.

Amarjit Batra, CEO of, said, “Both these ads communicate the ease of using the OLX mobile app and more than 80 per cent of our traffic comes from mobile. Having Dhanush on board with us to do our latest TVCs in Tamil is testimony to our growing reach and popularity. Dhanush is a young and versatile actor, and OLX is a young brand that has amassed the love of people everywhere, including Tamil Nadu. We felt Dhanush was the perfect choice to communicate the value of OLX in the daily lives of people.”

Making the right noise

In the last few months, has been flooding the market with new and innovative ads. The ‘O Womaniya’ ad released in March this year is still fresh in all our minds. Set to the tune of the popular Bollywood song ‘Womaniya’, it focused on how the ‘cell’ phone can be used as a ‘sell’ phone, targeting primary shoppers in every family – the women. Then came the ads featuring funny man Kapil Sharma (his first television endorsement) dressed as a mixer grinder.

The brand’s latest joint marketing campaign with Flipkart is aimed at leveraging each other’s strengths to offer combined benefits to the users. This tie-up encourages consumers to upgrade, by selling their used products on, before buying new products on Flipkart.

Expert view on OLX’s ad strategy

OLX launched its first TVC three years ago and since then, it has witnessed a meteoric rise, becoming the No. 1 online marketplace in India for used goods, commanding 75 per cent market share in the online C2C classifieds segment. spoke to a few experts to understand the effectiveness of OLX’s continued marketing efforts.

Prathap Suthan Prathap Suthan

Prathap Suthan, Managing Partner & Chief Creative Officer, Bang In The Middle, said, “The brand is always active and the good side to it is that it is constantly reminding the users of it. The nature of the online business is such that, it is always about finding the right target audience. A product like can be marketed even without the use of ambassadors; it is more about the ease and effectiveness of the product than the face. The humour element in all the ads is not great, but then again, in India, only 10 per cent of the audience is slightly evolved and the rest 90 per cent thrives on crass humour; therefore, brands will continue to do it.”

Suresh Eriyat, Founder and Creative Director, Eeksaurus, commented, “The ‘O Womaniya’ campaign was a nice one because it had real customers and it demonstrated the usage of the product. For any ad, I look at what it delivers to the society. For me, this ad is extremely progressive and it talks about women empowerment in a fun manner. But in the ads featuring Kapil (Sharma), all the viewers’ attention and craze is shifted to the comedy man rather than the product. Therefore, a celebrity can grab good eyeballs, no doubt, but in the long run, a campaign works well if it has common men like us in it.”

Priti Nair Priti Nair

Giving a thumbs up, Priti Nair, Co-founder, Curry-Nation, said, “I am a big fan of the ‘O Womaniya’ campaign and I feel it has been executed in an excellent manner. Personally, I haven’t seen the other ads, but all I can say is that, today, the first name which comes to all our minds whenever anyone talks of selling is OLX. I would like to make a mention about a picture which was shared with me on a social networking site. It was a message written in Marathi on a blackboard placed in front of a Ganpati Puja Pandal in Mumbai. The message said: ‘Don’t park your car in front of the pandal or else we will sell it on OLX.’”

Social media is full of funny usage of the term ‘OLX pe bech de’, be it in the form of movie spoofs or memes featuring actors and sportspersons. That clearly is testimony to the popularity of the brand and its inclusion in the common man’s parlance.

The TVCs:




Agency: Lowe Lintas & Partners Creative Team: Amer Jaleel, Shriram Iyer, Vaishnav Balasubramaniam, Manzoor Alam, Anshul Nagpal Account Management: Naveen Gaur, Syed Amjad Ali, Mayoori Hanagodimath, Rahul Ojha Account Planning: Farah Bashir Production House: Black box Films Director: Krishnakumar

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